MLBRT 9/2… National League possibilities

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This week in the Round Table…

…the crew disusses the National League pennant races and some of the playoff possibilities…

Here and now is this week’s MLBRT…

1) The Dodgers lost their fifth straight game on Sunday (8/23) to the Houston Astros. And, while the Dodgers have yet to lose a game by more than three runs on this winless streak they really seem to have no offense and their bullpen has been, in a word, “leaky.”

Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw says, “I hope we’re panicking a little bit. I think panic’s a good thing to a certain extent. It’s August whatever-it-is, and, we’ve got five weeks or whatever it is, too. There needs to be a sense of urgency. Maybe that’s better to say it than panic, but, I feel like we’ve got to start playing like that.”

Is it time to panic in Dodger-land because it’s getting late early out in LA?LAD

Archie1-300x277Archie: While, it looks certain that ONLY the Division Leader will make it to post season this year; due mainly to the strong Central Division, AND, even though the Dodgers had that losing streak, the team behind them has lost more in their last ten games than the Dodgers. So, while the Dodgers might not be clicking on all cylinders the Giants are not as well.

And, Panic is such a strong word. Let’s be real IF you are in first “YOU ARE IN 1ST”. There should not be a panic mode but you should check your focus and maybe spend a little more time in the batting cage and studying your opponent.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: I’d panic if I were in Dodger-Land. They have spent a ton of money, and, they still have some pretty big holes. Yes, they have Kershaw and Greinke but there isn’t much in the bullpen, and, their outfield hasn’t produced. Puig in particular.

So, yes a team in a big market, that has invested a ton of money, and is struggling, should be in panic mode.

meJoe: I don’t know if it’s time to panic, but, if I were the Dodgers I sure as hell would start trying to do whatever was necessary to win more games than than losethe games. Because sooner or later I expect to see second place San Fran put on a little win streak and a two game lead can disappear mighty fast if they contiue palying .500 or lower ball.

Clayton Kershaw & Zack Greinke
Clayton Kershaw & Zack Greinke

Ask the Yankees how fast leads can disappear… Toronto has been hot and the Yanks not… a first palce 6.5 game lead is now 2nd place and 2 games behind Toronto.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: The Dodgers still have the two best pitchers in the league in Kershaw and Grienke. I still think they need to do something about their bullpen, as Kenley Jensen cannot do it all.

The Dodgers are going to win the NL West, but, if, they can’t get another solid arm before the start of the playoffs, look for another first round exit for the Dodgers.

2) The San Francisco Giants play 21 of the team’s final 28 games against the NL West. As of 8/27, they stand three games behind the Dodgers in the all-important “Loss” column and 2.5 games out of first place in the NL West…

In all likelihood the two NL wild cards appear to be coming out of the NL Central…

Can the Giants make the playoffs by winning the NL West?SFG

Archie1-300x277Archie: They Can win the wild, wild west. But, I do believe they will have to win it to make post season. As stated above and in the first question, the two WC clubs will more than likely come from the Central Division.

We all know to “not count out the Giants” and their current streak; so yes they CAN win the West.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: Yeah.21 games in the division, and, the Dodgers sliding a bit should be all the Giants need to win the division.

I expect they will win the NL West and the Dodgers hold on for the Wild Card.

meJoe: Yes, they can…

Sooner or later one of the two… LA or San Fran… are going to put together a little win streak and my money is on the Giants to do that sooner and longer than the Dodgers.san-francisco-giants

Steve-01-288x300Steve: Can they? Sure they can, but they won’t.

As I stated in the first question, the Dodgers still sport the two best pitchers in the National League, if not all of of baseball. The Giants are too inconsistant as they will win 5 in a row, then lose 5 in a row. That cannot happen if they want to catch the Dodgers. 

3) As of August 25th, the NL Central division August records for the top three teams…

Cubs 17-4
Cardinals 13-8
Pirates 15-6

Just like last year, the Pirates are gaining “mo” in the second half of the season… the Cubbies are playing like a house afire… and, while, the Cardinals aren’t exactly collapsing, they do, suddenly, look catchable…

Who do you see ultimately winning the NL Central division this year?STLC

Archie1-300x277Archie:  It is the Cardinals division crown to lose. I feel they still have the experience and talent to finish that mission and I do believe they will. They have a 4.5 game lead with 36 to go.

At this stage the Pirates and Cubs could win 10 in a row but if the Cards win 8 of 10, the other two teams still only gain 2 games. I have not looked at the remainder schedule for each team but with that many games left most of the time the schedules are pretty evenly matched with some head to head games left. THAT HAS to be where the Cubs and Pirates HAVE to win to keep the Cards from another Division Crown.

Is this the year Cubs return to WS?
Is this the year Cubs return to WS?

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: I’m rooting for the Cubs, but, I think the Cardinals hold on and keep the division.

Sad thing? All three of these teams can’t make the postseason. I mean, the two who don’t win the division could be the wild card teams (I mean, it is possible) but at the end of the day one, if not two, of these fan bases will be disappointed come October.

meJoe: In my opinion, unless the Cardianls start playing less than .500/.525 ball they have the division…

Let’s face facts…  odds say that Chicago can’t keep playing .800 plus ball as they are doing so far in August… and, if Pittsburgh keeps playing .715 plus ball I’d be surprised at that, too… not for the next 35 or so games that are presently left in the season…

So, all the Cardinals need to do is keep playing at their decent level… .619… and they should be in the MLB postseason tourney with ease as a divisional winner

Steve-01-288x300Steve: The Cardinals will win the NL Central. These guys always find a way to win.Pirates

Its pretty sad when the three best teams in the league are in the same division, the Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs. This is the best division in baseball, and the way it stands right now, the Cardinals are still on pace to win 100 games, and, that will be enough to win the division, but, it will be a fun race down the stretch.

The Cardinals still have six games a piece with both the Cubs and Pirates, so if they can just split with these two, they are in good shape, and they have all but owned the Cubs this season.

4) Then there’s the NL East…

The Mets got pitching when they need it… then, their arguable ace for the year, Jacob deGrom gives up 6 earned runs in a career-low 2 2/3 innings (deGrom’s ERA swelled from 1.98 to 2.29) and Mets fans are like here we go again… but, then, the Mets go on to hit a team record 8 HRs in a single game and pummel the Phillies 16-7…

They suddenly can do no wrong…

Since, July the Mets have won 18 and lost 6 (.750) as the calendar turns to August 27 and the Washington Nationals are 6.5 games behind the Mets in 2nd place in the NL East…

Who wins the NL east?

Archie1-300x277Archie: The Mets. It is a season of overachieving and under achieving in the same Division.

Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper

AS you stated the Mets can do no wrong. Well, that happens when a team plays with confidence. They are playing like they “expect to win” every game. The Nats on the other hand are playing “trying NOT to lose”. That is a big difference in approach for players and Managers as well.

I think the Mets finish off the Nats in the next couple of weeks and win the Eastern Crown.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: The Mets are on fire. On fire. The pitching is strong, as usual, but, the bats have come on strong and they are surging right now.

Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom & Noah Syndergaard
Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom & Noah Syndergaard

The Mets will win the NL East going away. Who would have said that two months ago?

meJoe: The Mets ARE clicking on all cylinders and I am as suprised as anyone that right now they have such a commanding lead in the NL East as they do. The divison is theirs to lose. Washington, as I write this, are 6.5 games behind the Mets in the standings and 6 games behidn i nthe loss column. The Nats have 37 game sleft ot palya and he MEts have 36.

To overtake the Mets… if, the Mets play their schedulel out at an even .500 W/L record the Nats need to go 24-13, .649 W/L, just to tie and force a one game playoff for the division… to win the NL East outrigth, they would need to go one win more, i.e. 25-12  which woud lbe a .676 pace. That scenario is not inconceivable…. the Mets have gone into late seaon swoons before and the Nationals have a team that could win at the projected pace…

Yoenis Cespedes
Yoenis Cespedes

It’s just that with Terry Collins at the helm, and, pushing all the right buttons right now, I don’t see the Mets letting up to play bad enough to go out on a 50/50 pace. Nor, do  I see the Nats suddenly becoming the team everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the season and go on a tear to end the season.

And, one last thing… Since the Mets aquired Yoenis Cespedes they have been performing like the 1961 Yankees with the way they have started pounding the ball over the fences… Coincidence or not, these Mets are en fuego bot htwit heir pitchers and batters and could be very dangerous in the playoffs.

Mets win the NL East…

From unbeatable to paper tigers, wtf happened to the Nats?
From unbeatable to paper tigers, wtf happened to the Nats?

Steve-01-288x300Steve: The Nationals are on a downward spiral and have played themselves likely out of the post season. I had picked the Nationals to win 100 games this season and win the World Series. It does not appear that is going to happen.

The Mets are hitting, pitching, and most importantly continue to win games. The Mets will win the NL East, and, with their pitching rotation, they could make a nice run in the playoffs. 

5) Who is your 2015 NL manager of the year?

Archie1-300x277Archie: I am going with the guy leading the Mets charge and that is Terry Collins.

Terr Collins (r)
Terr Collins (r)

He has had his boys on a pretty even keel all year. Even after losing D. Wright for most of the season, they have still managed to find  enough offense to complement his pitching staff which is pretty young except for that one old geezer that seems to never tire out.

I think Collins has done an outstanding job this season.

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: Terry Collins.

Seriously.

Terry Collins should be NL Manager of the Year.

meJoe: It’s a coin flip between the Mets’ Terry  collins and the Cubs’ Joe Maddon… it’s in the air and flipping around and it’s… Terry Collins.

Gotta go with the NY dude being a NYC kinda sports guy. Yeah, hometown bias… so, shoot me.

Maddon has done a great job with the Cubs, but, I think a telast a few people said the Cubs might make a run at the wild card this year BUT I don’t know of a single person who said the Mets (outside of Terry Collins, himself)  had a chance at the wild card… forget winning the NL East. Now, it apperas Collins has the Mets well situated to take the divison ..and barring a collapse by the Mets by a wide margin.

Joe Maddon
Joe Maddon

That, in my opinion, is enough for Collins to edge out Maddon.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: There is no doubt in my mind that Joe Maddon is the National League Manager of the Year. Maddon has completely surpassed the expectations the Cubs and their fans had for this season. He has taken a bunch of kids, with a few veterans, and, has the Cubs in prime position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Most experts, even fans, have said that if the Cubs finish .500 or better then that would be a successful season, the playoffs would just be achieving earlier than expected.

Extra Innings…

On September 3rd in baseball history … 

 

  • 1901 – Baltimore Orioles pitcher Joe McGinnity hurls two complete games against the Milwaukee Brewers, winning 10-0 and losing 6-1.
  • 1917 – Philadelphia’s Grover Alexander went the distance in both games of the Phillies’ 5-0 and 9-3 sweep of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • 1928Ty Cobb makes the last of his 4,189 hits, the 724th double of his career, as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning for the Philadelphia Athletics in the first game of a doubleheader at Washington. The hit is offBump Hadley.
  • 1932Jimmie Foxx of the A’s poles his 50th and 51st home runs to become the third player to reach fifty in a season. Babe Ruth was the first player to do it and Hack Wilson was the first National League star to perform the trick.
  • 1947 – The New York Yankees had eighteen hits, all singles, in an 11-2 victory over Boston at Fenway Park. Tommy Henrich and Joe DiMaggio each had four hits.
  • 1957 – The Dodgers play their last game in Jersey City, as Don Drysdale loses to Philadelphia 3-2 in 12 innings. Brooklyn ends with an 11-4 mark in New Jersey.
  • 1957Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves recorded his 41st career shutout with an 8-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Spahn’s shutout set a Major League record for left-handed pitchers.
  • 1965 – Preparing a move to Anaheim, the Angels change their name from Los Angeles to California. They will stay in LA for another year before going to Anaheim.
  • 1970Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs asked to be kept out of the lineup, snapping his National League record of 1,117 consecutive games played. His record was broken in 1983 by Steve Garvey.
  • 1974 – Giants pitcher John Montefusco makes his Major League debut, homers in his first official time at bat, and hurls nine innings of relief to earn a 9-5 victory over the Dodgers.
  • 1977 – Japan’s Sadaharu Oh hits the 756th home run of his career to surpass Hank Aaron’s total and make him the most prolific home run hitter in professional baseball history.
  • 1981 – The Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners played the longest game in Fenway Park’s history, 19 innings, before the game was suspended with the score tied 7-7. The Mariners won 8-7 in 20 innings when the game resumed the next day.
  • 1986Billy Hatcher’s homer in the top of the 18th inning gave the Houston Astros an 8-7 victory over the Chicago Cubs. The two teams played 14 innings the day before and used a Major League record 53 players in the game.
  • 1990Bobby Thigpen set a Major League record with his 47th save in a 4-2 Chicago White Sox victory over Kansas City. Thigpen broke the record set by Dave Righetti of the New York Yankees in 1986.

 

 

 

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